LOS ANGELES – As forward Edward Kizza enters his second year with the New England Revolution, he has established a strong foundation to build upon.
The 23-year-old was selected as the 24th overall pick in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, and as a rookie made an impact on the first team by making his professional debut as a substitute in the season opener.
Kizza maximized his opportunities by not only registering 11 appearances and 259 minutes with the first team, but with a deep roster, he also took advantage of more playing time with Revolution II in USL League One.
“I think for me last year was more about my development, coming from college,” said Kizza. “I think it was very tremendous for me to have the opportunity to train with the second team. Just like playing games, that was the biggest thing for me.
“I understand, being with the first team it was very tough to get into. Having all those guys, everybody was playing out of this world which was good for the team. That means the competition was very high standards.”
Kizza made 12 appearances – all starts – with Revolution II, totaling 1,011 minutes. The striker registered five goals and at one point scored in four straight matches, tying the second-longest streak in League One history.
“For me, just being on the second team helped me play games, just actually improve my performance and stuff,” said Kizza. “Training with those guys every single day, that helps me improve my confidence.”
As Kizza now looks ahead to his second year with the club, he has his sights set on achieving new objectives with the first team.
“First I have to show the coaches that I’m ready to take that next step,” said Kizza. “Work hard in training, score as many goals as I can in training, and be more efficient in everything I do in training.
“Hopefully those things will translate in the big games. But I think my main goal this year, and I think it’s doable. There’s no doubt, I’ll hit the five-goal mark. That’s for sure.”
Kizza’s teammates have noticed not only the progress that the forward has made in his first year with the club, but also his dedicated work effort with his committed approach to giving his all in any setting he is put in.
“Kizza is a good, hard-working dude. He was really instrumental for us in the games that he played last year, just coming in when we had some strikers hurt and he always balled out,” said Ema Boateng.
Boateng also feels confident in Kizza’s ability to hit his five-goal aspiration in 2022.
“I want to see at least five goals from him because we give him a lot of flak that he didn't get enough goals," Boateng said with a smile. "But we've seen his effort that he puts in training, and he always tucks the ball away and if you just find him in the 18-yard box he'll give you a goal. So, we know all the stuff that he's capable of, and hopefully he gets opportunities to show that on the field this year.”
Kizza enjoyed learning from the talented group of attacking weapons on the Revolution roster in 2021, specifically from fellow forwards Adam Buksa and Gustavo Bou.
“Those are two great talents,” said Kizza. “I think the biggest thing from both, especially Adam, Adam’s very good holding up the ball. He’s very, very good in the air. Those are some things I can improve on, like being better in the air and my hold-up play has to be better and finishing chances.
“Gustavo, his hold-up play was amazing. Obviously, Gustavo’s finishing was very, very, very good. The things he tells me, he keeps talking to me, the way and style of play, every time I’m being connected to him. So I can take pieces from everybody’s game and I can translate them into my game.”
To complement Kizza’s work ethic, desire to improve and growing technical capabilities, as a young player, he brings a special energy to the locker room.
“Everybody loves him in the locker room,” said Boateng. “He's a young guy, but his presence is felt in the locker room. He's always joking around, and everybody feels comfortable around him and we expect big things from him for sure.”